Witness to deadly Woodbridge neighborhood shootings dies - KCTV5 News

Witness to deadly Woodbridge neighborhood shootings dies

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Jim Anderson Jim Anderson

A man who witnessed Brandon Howell's alleged deadly shootings has died.

A spokesperson for the Woodbridge Homeowners Association confirmed that Jim Anderson died Friday about 10 a.m.

There's a good chance family and friends might call Anderson Brandon Howell's sixth victim. Not because he did anything directly to him, but some would say the sheer stress of watching what happened to his neighbors may have killed Anderson.

"I was scared. It was scary," Anderson said when KCTV5 spoke with him the day after a deadly crime spree.

When KCTV5 spoke to him, Anderson described what he saw the afternoon of Sept. 2, something most couldn't bear to think about, let alone actually witness.

Howell, 34, faces 12 felony charges in Jackson County, including three counts of first-degree murder.

He is accused in the Sept. 2 shooting deaths of Alice Hurst, 88; her son, Darrel Hurst, 63; and Susan Choucroun, 69. He also is accused of the beating deaths of 80-year-old George and 86-year-old Ann Taylor.

Police and prosecutors said they believe that Howell beat and robbed the Taylors in their home near Woodbridge Lane, just east of Wornall Road. Authorities said Howell was trying to start the couple's beloved antique Jaguar when he was confronted by Alice and her son Darrel Hurst, who regularly visited. He is accused of gunning them down when they tried to intervene.

Armed with a shotgun, witnesses also say Howell confronted Choucroun, who had just left her home, and shot her in her driveway.

Anderson said he saw Choucroun shot and called 911.

"I just stayed inside because I knew if I came out he'd probably take a shot at me too," Anderson said at the time. "I'm sure he was going to shoot anybody that saw him."

Anderson had lived in the Woodbridge neighborhood for about two and a half years and may have been the only witness the day prosecutors say Howell shot and killed the three people in the quiet cul-de-sac and beat the Taylors, who died a week later.

Investigators confirm Anderson fell in his home Friday and never recovered. He passed away just two days after speaking with KCTV5.

"Every day it's something different," said a neighbor who didn't want to be identified.

Neighbors are now finding peace by adding flowers to the memorial already created for Howell's victims. They say they are devastated by the loss of Anderson, adding that his death makes an already horrific loss that much worse.

"You wake up thinking about it, you go to sleep thinking about it, it's hard to deal with," the neighbor said.

The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office released a statement after the announcement of the Taylors death, calling them the fourth and fifth homicide victims.

"Our office is evaluating potential changes in criminal charges facing Brandon Howell. Be assured that at the appropriate time, today's sad news of the Taylor's passing will be reflected in the state's case against the defendant."

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